Big Sky Conference

Big Sky Conference announces inaugural Hall of Fame class

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FARMINGTON, Utah (December 11, 2019) – The Big Sky Conference is proud to announce its 14-member inaugural Hall of Fame Class. The honorees represent 10 different sports. Six men’s and four women’s student-athletes and four coaches/administrators comprise the 2020 Big Sky Hall of Fame Class.

“The Big Sky Conference is proud to announce its inaugural Hall of Fame Class,” said Commissioner Tom Wistrcill. “This amazing group is made up of individuals who have not only shined during their Big Sky careers but have made an instrumental impact on the sporting world and in their communities. Their achievements have brought distinction, honor and excellence to both the Big Sky Conference and their institutional athletic programs.”

The award ceremony will take place on Saturday, March 14 in Boise, Idaho on the final day of the Big Sky Basketball Championships. Tickets to the event will go on sale in early January.

In the future, a maximum of eight student-athletes shall be selected including at least one (1) male student-athlete, one (1) female student-athlete and one (1) coach or administrator. No more than two (2) non-student athletes in any given year will be accepted into the Hall of Fame. No more than one member of each annual class will represent any current institution.

Hall of Fame Eligibility Criteria

  • An alumnus/alumna is eligible only if he/she has participated in two (2) full seasons of competition at a Big Sky member institution and should have made outstanding contributions or offered extraordinary service to athletics at the institutional, conference and national level.
  • An alumnus/alumna is eligible at any time beginning five (5) years after completing their collegiate eligibility.
  • Coaches who have made outstanding contributions or offered extraordinary service to Big Sky athletics shall be eligible for recognition into the Hall of Fame after service of three (3) full years.
  • Coaches must have completed their tenure as coach or have been out of the conference for at least five (5) years.
  • Administrators who have made outstanding contributions or offered extraordinary service to Big Sky athletics shall be eligible for recognition into the Hall of Fame after service of three (3) full years and are immediately eligible.

The Hall of Fame Class was voted on by a committee of 15 members spanning all 11 full-time Big Sky institutions.

2020 Big Sky Hall of Fame Class (Alphabetical Order)

Jared Allen – Idaho State, Football, 1993-96

Shannon (Cate) Schweyen – Montana, Women’s Basketball, 1988-92

Angela Chalmers – Northern Arizona, Women’s Track & Field, 1982-87

Dave Dickenson – Montana, Football, 1992-95

Stacy Dragila – Idaho State, Women’s Track & Field, 1993-96

Jack Friel – Big Sky Conference, Commissioner, 1963-71

John Friesz – Idaho, Football, 1986-89

Milton “Dubby” Holt – Idaho State, Track & Field/Administrator, 1963-79

Damian Lillard – Weber State, Men’s Basketball, 2008-12

Lopez Lomong – Northern Arizona, Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field, 2005-07

Ron Mann – Northern Arizona, Cross Country/Track & Field Coach, 1980-04

Ellie Rudy – Montana State, Women’s Track & Field, 2004-08

Robin Selvig – Montana, Women’s Basketball, 1978-2016

Jan Stenerud – Montana State, Football, 1964-66/Skiing, 1962-64

Jared Allen – Idaho State, Football, 2000-03

Allen was the Big Sky’s first-ever Buck Buchanan Award winner (2003), after recording 17.5 sacks, 102 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, six forced fumbles, three recovered fumbles, and nine pass deflections. The two-time All-American and three-time All-Big Sky honoree was selected in the fourth round of the NFL Draft by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2004. He played professionally for the Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers. In 2012, Allen set the single-season franchise record for most sacks by a Viking, with 22. Born in Dallas and raised in California, Allen was named to the NFL Pro Bowl five times, was a four-time First Team All-Pro, and led the NFL in sacks twice. He finished his career ranked in the top 10 in NFL history in sacks. Allen started Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors, which builds homes for wounded vets.

Shannon (Cate) Schweyen – Montana, Women’s Basketball, 1988-92

Former Montana head coach Robin Selvig, left, and current head coach Shannon Schweyen/ by Brooks Nuanez

Shannon Schweyen, formally Shannon Cate, was one of 10 Kodak All-Americans in 1992. She was the league’s first and only player named to an All-America team. The Billings, Mont., native was a Naismith Player of the Year finalist and Wade Trophy nominee. The three-time District VII Kodak All-American was voted the Big Sky MVP during her junior and senior seasons. She ended her career with 2,172 career points, at the time a Big Sky record. She ranks second in league history in field goals made (808). The former Big Sky Freshman of the Year was a four-time All-Big Sky honoree, three-time Big Sky tournament MVP, nine-time Big Sky Player of the Week, and four-time Big Sky All-Academic honoree. The current Lady Griz head coach is the only Montana women’s basketball player to have her number retired.

Angela Chalmers – Northern Arizona, Women’s Track & Field, 1982-87

Chalmers became the Big Sky’s first NCAA national champion in cross country in 1986 and was a six-time All-American. She also placed eighth at the 1985 NCAA Cross Country Championships. Chalmers finished second at the 1984 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championship in the 1,500 meter and third in the mile at the 1983 NCAA Indoors. At the NCAA National Outdoor Track & Field Championship meets, she placed fifth in the 1,550 meters in 1984, second in the 3,000 meters in 1985, and was third in the 1,500 meters and fifth in the 3,000 meters during the 1987 season. Chalmers was a 1988 and 1992 Olympian and captured the bronze medal in the 3,000 meters at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona for her native Canada. She capped her career as NAU’s indoor record holder in the 1,500-meter run. She also holds three outdoor records at NAU in the 800 meters, 1,500 meters and 3,000 meters. The native of Brandon, Manitoba, Canada, currently lives in Australia.

Dave Dickenson – Montana, Football, 1992-95

Former Montana quarterback Dave Dickson/by Brooks Nuanez

Dickenson, a three-time All-American and Academic All-American, led Montana to the 1995 Division I-AA national championship. That year he was named the Walter Payton Award Winner and the National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete. He was a three-time First Team All-Big Sky honoree and three-time Big Sky Offensive MVP. During Dickenson’s historic 1995 campaign, he threw for 5,676 yards and 51 touchdowns with his playoff statistics included. The native of Great Falls, Mont., played 10 seasons in the CFL with Calgary and B.C. He was a member of five Grey Cup championship teams and was named the CFL Most Outstanding Player in 2000, and the Grey Cup MVP in 2006. Dickenson became the head coach of the Calgary Stampeders in 2016, where he has compiled a 53-17-2 record in his first four years, with three trips to the Grey Cup, and a Grey Cup championship in 2018. He was named the 2017 CFL Coach of the Year. One of two Griz football players to have their number retired, Dickenson was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in 2015 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

Stacy Dragila – Idaho State, Women’s Track & Field, 1993-96

A pioneer in the sport of women’s pole vault, Dragila showed flashes of greatness when she placed second in the heptathlon at the 1995 Big Sky Conference championships. Dragila won the gold medal in the inaugural women’ pole vault at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. She is a four-time World Champion, nine-time U.S. Outdoor Champion, eight-time U.S. Indoor Champion. Dragila would go on to break the world record 10 times. In 2014, Dragila was elected into the National Track & Field Hall of Fame. The native of Auburn, Calif., was inducted into the Idaho State Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001. She currently resides in Boise.

Jack Friel – Big Sky Conference, Commissioner, 1963-71

After coaching Washington State men’s basketball for 30 years and leading the Cougars to an NCAA runner-up finish in 1941, Jack Friel became the first Big Sky Commissioner in 1963. Spearheaded by Friel, the Big Sky’s formation was driven by basketball and basketball scheduling. Five of the original six charter members – Idaho, Idaho State, Montana, Montana State and Weber State – are currently in the Big Sky. A widely respected individual across the NCAA basketball landscape, Friel is credited with developing the one-and-one free throw rule. As Big Sky Commissioner, he helped the conference earn an automatic bid to the national tournament during a time when not every league earned an automatic berth. Prior to joining the Big Sky Conference, Friel served as a Pac-10 basketball supervisor of officials being named to league’s Hall of Honor in 2003. He was inducted into the Washington State Athletics Hall of Fame and honored with the naming of Friel Court in 1978. Friel passed away in 1995 at the age of 97.

John Friesz – Idaho, Football, 1986-89

Born in Missoula, Mont., and raised in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, Friesz became the Big Sky’s first Walter Payton Award Winner in 1989. That year he also earned Coaches’ Choice I-AA Player of the Year, Football Gazette National Offensive Player of the Year and Consensus First-Team All-American. In 1988 he was a Kodak and Sporting News First Team All-American, and a 1987 AP All-America Second Team honoree. Friesz earned the Big Sky Offensive MVP in 1987, 1988 and 1989 – the first three-time MVP in league history. He was a 10-time Big Sky Player of the Week and threw for 10,697 yards in 35 career games. He finished his career first in the Big Sky at the time in passing yards per game and total offense per game. Friesz was picked in the sixth round of the 1990 NFL Draft and had a 10-year career playing for San Diego, Washington, Seattle and New England. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

Milton “Dubby” Holt – Idaho State, Track & Field/Administrator, 1963-79

The late Milton “Dubby” Holt, an Idaho State legend and the architect of Holt Arena, was a fixture in Pocatello for 70 years.  Recruited from California to play football at Temple by legendary coach Glenn “Pop” Warner, Holt found his way to Idaho State where he was a standout football and track & field star.  After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, Holt returned to Idaho State, where he served as the boxing, swimming and track & field coaches. His Idaho State boxing teams – not affiliated with the Big Sky – won two national championships. Despite never boxing, Holt was selected to coach the U.S. Boxing Team at the 1956 Olympics. Holt’s Bengal track teams won 13 straight conference titles.  Holt guided Idaho State to the first four Big Sky championships from 1964-1967, and his squads won the first Big Sky cross country championship in 1963 and another in 1965. In 1967, his first year as athletic director, the decision made was to build the first indoor football stadium on a college campus. At the time, the Astrodome was the lone dome stadium in the world. Originally named the ASISU Minidome, it opened in September 1970 and was renamed Holt Arena in 1988 to honor the man who conceived it and oversaw its construction. Holt retired in 1979 and was inducted into the Idaho Sports Hall of Fame in 1999. Holt passed away at the age of 92 in 2007.

Damian Lillard – Weber State, Men’s Basketball, 2008-12

Portland State All-NBA guard Damien Lillard (pictured in the center) seated court side at Brick Breeden Fieldhouse/by Brooks Nuanez

Lillard’s All-American honor in 2012 made him the Big Sky’s first men’s basketball player to achieve the feat. A finalist for the Bob Cousy Award, Lillard finished second in the nation in scoring in 2011-12 with an average of 24.5 points per game. He was a two-time Big Sky MVP and three-time All-Big Sky selection, as he led Weber State to a pair of Big Sky titles. He ended his collegiate career with 1,934 career points, which ranked fifth in league history and was the second-most by a three-year player. Lillard, from Oakland, Calif., scored in double figures in 90 of 103 career games. His jersey was retired by Weber State in 2017. Lillard was drafted sixth in the 2012 NBA Draft, the second highest draft pick in Big Sky history. He was a unanimous pick as the 2012-13 NBA Rookie of the Year. He is a four-time NBA All-Star and four-time All-NBA selection. He has led Portland to the postseason six times, including a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2019. Lillard is active in the Portland community, spearheading an anti-bullying campaign at local schools.

Lopez Lomong – Northern Arizona, Men’s Cross Country/Track & Field, 2005-07

Lomong, a two-time Olympian, served as the U.S. delegation Opening Ceremony flag bearer at the 2008 Olympic Games. The 2012 Visa Humanitarian of the Year is one of the most decorated cross country and track & field athletes to compete in the Big Sky as he has set American records and won numerous USATF Championships. The 2007 NCAA Indoor 3,000-meter champion and 2007 NCAA Outdoor 1,500-meter Champion was named the NCAA Mountain Region Individual Champion and Mountain Region Male Track Athlete of the Year. Lomong recorded top-four finishes at the 2006 and 2007 NCAA Cross Country Championships. He is a two-time Big Sky cross country Individual and Team Champion, and 12-time Big Sky Athlete of the Week. He’s one of four Big Sky triple champions – 2007 Big Sky Indoor 800-meters, mile, and 3,000-meters.  The two-time Big Sky Indoor Athlete of the Meet won the 800 and mile in 2006. In 2007, Lomong was named the Big Sky Outdoor Outstanding Athlete of the Meet. He won the 800, 1,500 and 5,000m. In 2006 he won the Big Sky Outdoor 800 and 1,500. He is the Big Sky Outdoor Track & Field all-time record holder in the 800 and 1,500. Lomong’s autobiography “Running for My Life,” which chronicled his journey as a “Lost Boy of Sudan” to Olympian was published in 2012.

Ron Mann – Northern Arizona, Cross Country/Track & Field Coach, 1980-04

Mann was the NAU Director of Cross Country & Track & Field from 1980-2004, when he led the Lumberjacks men’s and women’s cross country and track & field programs. He coached the 1991 women’s cross country team to a third-place finish in the NCAA Championships, the highest national finish by any women’s cross country program in Big Sky history. Mann’s teams made history in 1998, as NAU became the first school in conference history to win all four cross country conference titles (men, women, team, and individual) in the same year. He produced at least one Olympian in every summer Games from 1984 through 2004. Mann coached a total of 103 student-athletes who earned All-America honors and 16 that finished among the top 10 at the NCAA National Championships.  Mann had athletes compete at 115 NCAA cross country and track and field championship meets. Mann was inducted into the USTFCCCA Hall of Fame in 2018. Overall, Mann earned 56 Big Sky Coach of the Year awards, 58 Big Sky Team Championships across men’s and women’s cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field. Mann moved to Louisville in 2004 and led that program to eight Big East titles. Mann also served as the 2008 U.S. Olympic men’s middle distance coach and was the coach of the 2005 U.S. Men’s World Outdoor Championship team.

Ellie Rudy – Montana State, Women’s Track & Field, 2004-08

Rudy won the pole vault at the 2007 and 2008 NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. The 2008 Olympic Trials competitor is a four-time NCAA All-American in the pole vault. She set the Big Sky record (14-1.25) in dramatic fashion, claiming her first national championship in the jump-offs of the 2007 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships. Rudy won four indoor and four outdoor Big Sky Conference pole vault championships. She’s currently second on the Big Sky indoor pole vault record list (14-1.25) and holds Big Sky outdoor record (14-2.5). She is a two-time Big Sky Indoor Championships Field Event Athlete of the Meet. Rudy earned 21 Big Sky Athlete of the Week honors and is a seven-time Big Sky All-Academic Team honoree. A 2008 Big Sky Scholar-Athlete, Rudy scored 40 career points in both indoor and outdoor Big Sky championship meets. Swearingen, from Woodland Park, Colo., currently resides in Alaska.

Robin Selvig – Montana, Women’s Basketball, 1978-2016

Former Montana Lady Griz head coach Robin Selvig coaching during the 2016 Big Sky Conference Tournament with new head coach Shannon Schweyen to his left/by Brooks Nuanez

As one of just 14 NCAA women’s basketball coaches to reach 800 career wins, Robin Selvig guided Montana to 21 NCAA Tournaments and a combined 35 Big Sky Conference titles during his 38-year career. A native of Outlook, Mont., Selvig led the Lady Griz to 20-win seasons 31 times, compiling 865 career victories to rank 10th all-time in the NCAA. In 2006, Street & Smith’s named Montana the seventh-best women’s basketball program of all-time. The Lady Griz were ranked in the top 25 in the nation in seven of Selvig’s seasons, achieving a high of No. 13 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll on March 1, 1988. Montana enjoyed incredible success at home during Selvig’s tutelage, compiling a 511-61 record while ranking in the top 15 nationally in attendance 13 times. A 15-time Big Sky Coach of the Year recipient, the Lady Griz won 65-straight contests against Big Sky opponents and six NCAA Tournament games under Selvig’s rein.

Jan Stenerud – Montana State, Football, 1964-66/Skiing, 1962-64

Stenerud came to Bozeman, Mont., from Norway on a skiing scholarship and turned into a two-sport All-American and an NFL Hall of Famer. Stenerud is regarded by many as the best placekicker in pro football history. Before he kicked his way past competitors, Stenerud was an All-American ski jumper. A two-time Big Sky ski jump champion (1963, 1964), he won four of his six regular-season meets in 1964. In 1965, Stenerud made a 59-yard field goal, at the time an NCAA record. The 1966 Sporting News All-Division All-American led MSU to a Big Sky Championship that year. Stenerud set Big Sky records for extra points in a season and most extra points attempted. He was the Big Sky’s leading kicker statistically in 1965 and 1966, but all-league specialists were not selected until later years. Stenerud was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs (AFL) and Atlanta Falcons (NFL). He was inducted in the NFL and Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in 1991, and the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame in 1992. He was the first pure placekicker inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. His jersey number has been retired by Montana State and Kansas City. A member of Super Bowl IV Champion Kansas City Chiefs, and a member of the Super Bowl I team, he was a four-time Pro Bowler, four-time First Team All-Pro, two-time Second Team All-Pro, First Team All-AFL twice, and Second Team All-AFL once. His 373 field goals made and 1,699 career points were both NFL records at the time of his retirement. He played 19 seasons in the NFL, finishing with the Minnesota Vikings and was named to NFL’s 75th Anniversary Team.

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